How Divorced Parents can Share the Holidays

December 13, 2007 at 3:13 pm | Posted in children, dads, Divorce, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, Thoughtful Thursday, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday!

Todays Thoughtful Thursday podcast “How Divorced Families Share the Holidays can help divorced parents understand why holidays have more stress and learn strategies to reduce or eliminate the most common causes.

Get your copy of “How Divorced Families Share the Holidays today and enjoy the joy of the Christmas season again!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

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Wednesday Wisdom: 8 Common Mistakes Divorced Parents Make at Christmas

December 12, 2007 at 7:15 am | Posted in children, dads, Divorce, Families, Holidays, marriage, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, spirituality, toddlers | Leave a comment
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Welcome to Wednesday Wisdom! 

The Holidays bring some of the hardest times for divorced parents.   Why?  And how can you avoid being sucked into the trap of holidays being one huge series of stress events? 

There is so much stress around the holidays in the first place it is easy to have things escalate in divorced families.  In this article you will learn about eight of the most common problems that occur with holidays and parents who are divorced.  And best of all you will learn some tactics to help you stay away from these negative stress-inducing patterns.

These eight situations are not in an order.  Each one alone can be as bad as any other and in combination they can stack up to cause the holidays to be simply awful for your children

  • Counting the hours that the children stay in each house may seem to be an equitable way of sharing the holidays.  But then there is no respect for what is happening in either house, what is important to the children, and what is important to you as the parent.  Rather than have exact hours set up, try to establish what events, traditions are important and then work around those.  If your ex will not share with you what is important, still share what is important to you.   And share these things with your children.
  • In our materialistic culture it is pretty common for people to try and out do each other and divorced parents are no exception.  When you are purchasing gifts or thinking of special activities to do ABSOLUTELY only think about what would be fun, age appropriate, and of value to your children.  There is no need to try and have a “better” or “more” holiday.  Remember the old sayings, “Less is sometimes more.” And “Great things come in small packages.”
  • Along this line is the desire to undermine each other.  Stay away from this.  No matter how much you think your ex is doing this to you remember the golden rule.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  When you let yourself get sucked into the undermining game you will without fail be the looser.  And there will be no winner if both of you undermine each other.  Beyond that your children will loose respect for you.  So just stay out of the undermining game.
  • You may be so depressed with the loss of the family that you just mope through everything.  Well let me tell you, there is nothing worse than being around a mope on the holidays.  I know it is really hard to let them go.  And your heart just aches at the thought. But please remember that you do have your children for some time and relish the time they are with you.  Reserve your moping for when they are gone if you just can’t get away from the pain in your heart.
  • When the children are with you remember that the other parent may be as miserable as you are happy and content.  Allow and encourage them to call their other parent, your children will want to share the special things that are going on.  You do not have to let them call all the time. But you want to have them feel that both parents are a part of their lives.  I know this is hard.  But it in the end your children will have the opportunity to be whole rather than feeling they have to split themselves up. This is not just with you, but also in all their relationships.
  • I know that when you buy a gift for your children you want to see them play with it.  Adults often have some vicarious pleasure form seeing children enjoy their gifts.  When a child has two homes you can say there are a few gifts you think are special to this house, but the others can go back and forth.  This way the gifts are really for the child and not for you.  I know you want to see your child play with the gift.  But the best thing is to have the child love the gift, wherever they are.
  • Holidays are about meals.  And children do love to eat these great meals.  But you need to allow your child to eat at one house and if you are the second house assume your child was not mature enough to save room for anything yummy with you.  You can have some special meal of leftovers the next day. 
  • When you are developing your new patterns for holidays remember you had to create whatever pattern your family had before the divorce.  So you can create something new.  It will not be the same.  It will not be worse.  It will be different.  And it can be more enjoyable.
  • You can create completely new traditions; you can decide to have the holiday on different days.  People have made up all holidays in the first place.  So make the holidays right for you.  You can add a celebration.  For instance we celebrate Little Christmas, The Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, all names for January 6.  This way whatever anyone is doing on Dec 25 there is always the opportunity to have the family gathered, have a special meal, open presents, and sing songs.  You can be creative and have some special times that you ex doesn’t care about.

With an understanding of these eight most common mistakes divorced parents make you will have an advantage to give your children the gift of loving and cherished holidays.

Check out our FREE Motivational Monday audio on how divorced parents can make Christmas perfect for their children

All this week, GEM Parenting will focus on the subject of divorce and Christmas!  Feel free to join us and add comments on your ways to make Christmas easier!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Transcendent Tuesday: Christmas for Children of Divorce

December 11, 2007 at 1:15 pm | Posted in children, dads, Divorce, Families, Holidays, marriage, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Transcendent Tuesday, Tweens | Leave a comment
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As you may have guessed, GEM Parenting is dealing with the topic divorce this week.  It is so important that families have that special time at Christmas.  For many parents and children, this is one of the few times they get to spend together interacting with close family, building memories that will last a lifetime, and growing traditions passed from one generation to the next. 

For children of divorce as well as divorced parents, this is often the most stressful and painful part of the year.  It does not have to be though…and GEM Parenting is here to help you make it through the Christmas season with strong happy children and families.

As our feature article this week, GEM Parenting welcomes back the insightful wisdom of Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen with her newest article “Christmas and Divorce For Kids:  Practical Ways to Enjoy a Divorced Family Christmas.”  In this incredible article, Laurie outlines the way you can address Christmas Traditions for Divorced Children as:

  • Ask your kids what Christmas traditions they want to keep. They may be attached to old family rituals – or the traditions may be too painful for your kids.
  • Consider creating new Christmas family traditions. Listen to your kids; they may know how to make a divorced family Christmas joyful and harmonious.
  • Consider spending Christmas somewhere else. If you have always spent it at your parents’ place but think it may be too painful this year, consider going to a close friends’ for Christmas. Diverting attention away from the divorced family Christmas idea may ease children’s anxieties.
  • Find inexpensive ways to enjoy the holidays. Money could be tight after a divorce. Enjoy simple pleasures, such as hot chocolate after a snowball fight or watching classic Christmas movies together. Don’t make up for your feelings of guilt or sadness with expensive gifts. Christmas and divorce for kids isn’t about buying lots of stuff.

Don’t miss the rest of Laurie’s article “Christmas and Divorce for Kids:  Practical Ways to Enjoy a Divorced Family Christmas” with practical ways to build new family traditions for children of divorce and a guide to buying Christmas gifts for divorced children!

BTW….click on our schedule tab at the top to see what topics are coming up in the weeks ahead!  Want to suggest a topic?  Leave us a comment! 

Check out our FREE Motivational Monday audio on how divorced parents can make Christmas perfect for their children

All this week, GEM Parenting will focus on the subject of divorce and Christmas!  Feel free to join us and add comments on your ways to make Christmas easier!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Motivational Monday: Divorced Parents Can Make Christmas Perfect for Children

December 10, 2007 at 8:33 am | Posted in children, dads, Divorce, Families, Holidays, marriage, moms, Mothers, Motivational Monday, parents, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to todays Motivational Monday!

 At GEM Parenting, we realize that Christmas can be the hardest time of the year for children of divorced parents as well as the extended families trying to merge into one strong family group. Hence, GEM Parenting wanted to take a minute to focus on the children of divorce and how parents can make this the best, least stressful holiday for them.  

Check out our FREE Motivational Monday audio on how divorced parents can make Christmas perfect for their children

All this week, GEM Parenting will focus on the subject of divorce and Christmas!  Feel free to join us and add comments on your ways to make Christmas easier!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Creative Crayon Club: Christmas Crafts

December 8, 2007 at 11:59 pm | Posted in children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Focused Fridays, Holidays, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, spirituality, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to the Creative Crayon Club!

There are three wonderful Christmas craft ideas here to give you some much needed time with your family and relieve the stress of Christmas!  Enjoy.

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Hanger and Christmas Cloth Wreath

You need:

  • Wire coat hanger
  • Yard of Christmas cloth
  • Bag to keep cloth strips in
  • Scissors

To do:
Tear the cloth in strips about 2 inches wide.  This is great fun for little hands.  You can start the tears and then you child can rip the rest.  Or you can each pull from different sides.

  • Save one strip to be long.
  • Cut or tear the strips to be about 4 inches long. 
  • Put them in the bag right now.
  • Bend the coat hanger into a circle.
  • Take the long strip and cover the hook.
  • You may need to do this with little ones. 
  • To secure hold the strip over the end of the hook. 
  • Wrap the strip around the end and work back to the circle part of the hanger.
  • To secure the other end tie small strips over this end.
  • Tie each small cloth strip around the coat hanger
  • Do this until there is no space left to tie strips.

You can do this just about anywhere.  If you are going to do this out and about use a cloth bag so the hanger won’t split the plastic or paper.

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Hand Print Christmas Tree

You need:

  • Poster Board
  • Green paint
  • Red Paint
  • Large paint brush
  • Christmas Stickers and star stickers
  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper

To do:

  • Have poster board flat on paper towels where it can stay for a few hours.
  • Paint your child’s hands.
  • Place the painted hands to make prints.
  • Start at the top with one print and work down making it wider with each row.  You know the shape of a Christmas tree

Use the red paint to write Merry Christmas

Use the paper towels to dry hands before leaving work area.

Let tree dry completely
Add stickers for tree decorations and presents under the tree.

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Clove Orange and Apple

You need:

  • One naval orange or Macintosh apple
  • Several bottles of whole cloves
  • Yard of Christmas ribbon

To do:

  • Cut ribbon in half
  • Tie two pieces together in middle
  • Tie ribbon around orange/apple so it has not at bottom and not at top with loose ends to hang it with.
  • Push cloves in the arrange/apple
  • Keep them slightly apart. 
  • As the orange/apple dries out it will shrink

Hang –it will smell wonderful!

If you have a favorite Christmas activity that you do with your children and family, then please share with us!

For more information about how to use holidays to boost natural self-esteem or to learn about natural self-esteem go to feel free to contact Grace E. Mauzy at grace@gemparenting.com.

Thoughtful Thursday: Don’t Get Snowballed by Christmas

December 6, 2007 at 11:42 pm | Posted in children, dads, Families, Holidays, marriage, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, Thoughtful Thursday, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday!

Todays Thoughtful Thursday podcast “Don’t Get Snowballed by Christmas” is about how to have joy for the Christmas Season while keeping your wallet intact, your waist line the same, and having simple fun that leads to building high self-esteem in your family.  

Preview of the Thoughtful Thursday audio release at Thoughtful Thursday:  Don’t Get Snowballed by Christmas.

Get your copy of “Don’t Get Snowballed by Christmas” today and enjoy the joy of the Christmas season again!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Wednesday Wisdom: Dont Let Christmas Snowball your Children and Family

December 5, 2007 at 3:23 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, toddlers | 2 Comments
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Welcome to Wednesday Wisdom!  

Here we are just before Christmas.  And you are getting anxious and feeling the snowball effect of the season.  Only it isn’t like the wonderful snow that we just had here in New Hampshire.  Your snowball is that tremendous feeling of overwhelm and how will you get everything done.  Remember there is only one Martha Stuart and you are not her.  This gives you the privilege to be imperfect.  Yes she has wonderful ideas and tricks.  But you do not need to emulate her.  The best thing for you to do right now is truly allow yourself to follow the most important ideas you have for Christmas.  And know that you have more ideas than you can really do.

But you really want a bit more than just attitude.  So here are some specific ways to get from today to Christmas with out loosing your ideals in the process.  Last week I suggested you wrote down everything you wanted to do before Christmas and if you haven’t done it why not do it now?  The tips and skills you learn here at GEM Parenting really do work and they work best if you actually apply them.  After you have your list of what you want to do then do one thing each day.  And what ever you don’t get done will have to wait till next year.  That is one of the best things about Christmas, it does come every year.

Here are several practical ideas that you can use to help save money, keep sane, stay the same weight, and still remember the joy of celebrating Christmas.

To help your wallet, credit card and bank account from being depleted from Christmas it is important to know how much money you have and are comfortable spending.  Make the decision and stick to it.  You will find then you are not only saving money you will have more sanity.  No need to wonder if you should get just one more thing for anybody.  And do make a budget for the holiday food.  It is easy to run up quite a bill for the specialty items at Christmas and New Years

When you are eating all those delectable Christmas items take small helpings.  Try a bite of each thing.  Then if it is really good go for a few more bites.  And remember that these foods are for tasting not filling you up necessarily.  That means if you savor each bite.  Be a bit Zen about it.  Get the full flavor from less quantity you will have the pleasure satisfied and the tummy not bulging.  And of course you know that if you stay the same weight during Christmas you will be much saner than if you gain that extra 10 or 20 pounds.

Some wonderful ways to remember the joy of Christmas with your kids is to go to the library and get lots of Christmas books.  Read these books as the most important part of your Christmas preparation.  You can get the fun books, the serious books, the crafty ones, and the religious ones.  And do some of those crafts.  It is so much fun, even if some are messy.  Your children will prefer to be sitting with you, glue, glitter and hearing you read books than just about anything else you can do. 

When you celebrate Christmas without going broke, not gaining weight and actually enjoying your kids you give real joy to the season.  I love the holiday this way.  Giving your family the opportunity to love Christmas and the time you spend with them will give them a strong understanding of how a holiday is not only a sacred time, but a metaphor for true high self esteem.  With this in mind I give my heartfelt love and wish you a Merry Christmas.

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Transcendent Tuesday: Removing Stress from Christmas

December 4, 2007 at 11:08 pm | Posted in children, dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, spirituality, toddlers, Transcendent Tuesday, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Christmas means different things to everyone.  For some, the spirit of the season is in seeing their children open gifts or decorate the tree.  Yet for others, the Christmas season is marked by baking goodies and wrapping presents.  Even in the midst of this amazing time of year filled with joy and happiness, stress is bound to pounce on everyone in the family.

 

The potential to forget that children suffer from stress during the glorious time of the year in the hustle of gifts, shopping, and decorating increases as Christmas draws near.

In an enlightening article, “10 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Stress:  Recognize Holiday Anxiety & Help Children Calm Down at Christmas” by Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, suggestions the following ways for parents to recognize signs of holiday stress in kids:

  • Tears for seemingly minor reasons.

  • Nervous behaviors such as nail biting and hair twirling.

  • Physical complaints, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, diarrhea, etc.

  • Regression to younger behaviors: bed wetting, eating with hands.

  • Withdrawal from school friends or siblings.

Any behavior that your child doesn’t normally do could be a sign of Christmas anxiety.

Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen goes on to suggest the top 10 holiday stress management tips for children at “10 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Stress:  Recognize Holiday Anxiety & Help Children Calm Down at Christmas!”

 

A special thank you to Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen for permission to use excerpts of her article “10 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Stress:  Recognize Holiday Anxiety & Help Children Calm Down at Christmas” here at GEM Parenting!

 

Did you miss yesterdays GEM Parentings FREE Monday Motivation: Avoid Being Snowballed by Christmas?

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Motivational Monday: Avoid Being Snowballed by Christmas

December 3, 2007 at 12:53 am | Posted in dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, Motivational Monday, relationships, siblings, spirituality, toddlers, Tweens | 1 Comment
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Welcome to this weeks issue of Motivational Monday with GEM Parenting

As Christmas is getting closer, you need to have encouragement to stay to your plan and to your heart.  It is not easy with all the media working on you in all kinds of psychological ways.  But rest assured you are not trapped.  You can bring Christmas with love and spirituality to your home. 

Use singing Christmas Carols, home made gifts, and old-fashioned cards as ways to help you keep the meaning of Christmas filled with love and spirituality

This week we will be working on keeping your heart and home filled with love for this Christmas season.  Remember the three wise men each brought only one gift apiece, but had the ability to lavish baby Jesus with gifts better than most of us can do now.

  • We are also going to talk about how to manage the goodness of gift giving with the reality of your checkbook. 
  • We will talk about how to make Christmas real yet still magical.  Without having to spend too much money or time. 

Hope to see you around this week.  And please let us all know if you have some great idea of how to keep Christmas filled with love and spirituality for your family.

You can do this by clicking the comments button below!

Click here to listen GEM Parentings FREE Monday Motivation: Avoid Being Snowballed by Christmas!

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Crayon Color Club: Advent Calendars for Gifts!

December 1, 2007 at 4:06 am | Posted in Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, relationships, Self Esteem, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Two Advent Calendars to start your Christmas season.  Here is a printable copy of this activity:  Advent Calendars!

1.  Advent calendars.  I have two fun ides.  The first is great if you have some candy around (especially old Halloween candy)

  • You need two pieces of heavy paper, green markers or crayons, 24 candies for each child, tape or glue gun
  • Cut the papers in the shape of a Christmas tree
  • Color one green.
  • On the green paper cut 24 window flaps.  ONLY CUT THREE SIDES. 
  • Number each window with 1-24. So it shows on the green side
  • Now place this over the other paper.
  • Mark where the windows are with light pencil on the plain tree. 
  • Glue or tape the candies on each marked place on the plain tree. 
  • Place the green tree over the plain tree.
  • Tape the edges of the two papers together.

There you have your own advent calendar.  (You open each window everyday before Christmas ending on Dec 24.)

If you want to get a bit fancier you can add some lines of the story of Christmas to this.

  • Before you start the trees with your kids write or copy a short story of Jesus’ birth with each line separate from each other.  You can only have twenty-four lines. 
  • Number the lines in order. Cut these out and fold them up. 
  • Tape them to the candies. 
  • Proceed with the directions above. When you open each window you have the story. 
  • Have another piece of paper to tape these lines to so you can soave the sory and read the whole thing Christmas eve.

One more idea you can have these lines NOT in order and have your children put them in order as they get a new one each day. 

If you have more than one child you can have the story lines be in multiples of 24.  And spread the story between your children.  Have a large piece of paper where you can tape the story lines as you go.  If the lines are not in order you may want to keep them in an envelope to put together on Christmas Eve

2.  The other Advent Calendar is a paper chain.  It is simple to make and especially helps younger children to understand how long it is till Christmas comes.  The simplest way is to have red and green paper.  Cut these into 24 strips total.  Make a chain using tape or glue sticks.  Each day tear off a loop of the chain.

For older children they can add decorations to the chain.

For a more elaborate idea write the title of a Christmas song on each loop and when you remove the loop sing the song.  This is really FUN.  You can repeat the songs if you don’t know 24.  And if you have more than one child you can put the same songs on all the loops.  This makes for some fun Christmas caroling.

For more information about how to use holidays to boost natural self-esteem or to learn about natural self-esteem go to feel free to contact Grace E. Mauzy at grace@gemparenting.com.

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